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Mountain Biking Pennsylvania
by Rob Ginieczki (Falcon Guides)
A truly historic and casual ride along the beautiful Black Lick Creek, this trail has the remains of five ghost towns along its course as well as evidence of coal mines and iron furnaces. After discovering the natural riches of the area, settlers constructed the Eliza Furnace in Vintondale. It remains one of the best-preserved iron furnaces in Pennsylvania and one of the few with blast coils still intact. Further down the trail is the Bracken mine and ghost town. At one time Bracken was a small village of 12 houses, a one-room schoolhouse, and a company store. You will feel very secure riding along the trail knowing that you’ll never be more than 4 miles from a bicycle shop. Highlights: remains of old mining ghost towns, old open strip mines, awesome creek-side ride, well shaded, best preserved iron furnace in the state, bike shops and rentals. Tread: the original railbed of crushed limestone constitutes the surface of this trail.
If you are up for a gentle but pretty trail ride with lots of good natural/historical interest, this is worth the trip. We went from Nanty Glo to Dillstown at a gentle pace with several stops in about 2 1/2 hours. It's about 12 miles each way, but the trail has been expanded and we are interested in seeing other sections.
The Eliza Furnace is really cool for anyone interested in early industrial revolution technology. The majority of the trail runs through shaded woods alongside the various branches of Blacklick Creek. For the environmentalist this is a must ride, seeing first hand the devastating effects of acid mine drainage. The main stem of Blacklick creek is bright orange and completely dead. Then you bike by the South Branch (which is not totally healthy but MUCH better) to see a green world with many fish. Along the way you cross several very healthy tributaries, tiny brook trout streams apparently teeming with fish. A reminder that what we do has absolute impact on the health of our world. Vintondale is also undertaking a massive project to use wetlands to mitigate their part of the problem. I hope all the other sources soon follow, this could be a gem of a watershed.
Nice amenities all along with rest stops and historical markers. Enjoy the ride.
The trail was very easily accessible and sceenic and a lot of fun.
This is a very nice trail, well maintained and the river flowing by. It has a good number of bikers and some hikers though it is located in western PA.
This trail is an easy and very peaceful ride. The wooded scenery is beautiful and were very few people on the trail.There is very little left of the ghost town,yet it left you with an eerie feeling that people used to live there.There's a bit of history along this trail that helps make it interesting.
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